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Caregivers of U.S. military wounded uncared for

The needs of a military caregiver -- a family member, friend, or acquaintance -- who provides care and assistance for, or manages the care of, a current or former military servicemember are ignored and unmet.

By
Alex Cukan
U.S. President George W. Bush helps kick off the Wounded Warrior Ride on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on April 24, 2008. Dozens of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are participating in the three day bicycle ride that will end in Annapolis, Maryland. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)
U.S. President George W. Bush helps kick off the Wounded Warrior Ride on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on April 24, 2008. Dozens of veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are participating in the three day bicycle ride that will end in Annapolis, Maryland. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 31 (UPI) -- The needs of military caregivers -- family members, friends, or acquaintances who provide care and assistance for, or manage the care of, current or former military servicemembers -- are ignored and unmet.

A report by the Rand Corp. said: "Although significant attention has been paid to servicemembers and veterans with service-related injuries and associated conditions, little is known about the needs of their caregivers or the resources that exist to meet them."

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Family members and others have long cared for wounded veterans, but the veterans from two recent wars are more likely to have mental health and substance problems, making the task of providing care even more difficult, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Caring for a loved one is a demanding and difficult task, often doubly so for caregivers who are juggling care duties with family life and work. The result is often that caregivers pay a price for their devotion," the report said.

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More than 40 percent of caregivers of the military are ages 18 to 30, often spouses in young marriages strained by the stress, but a quarter of caregivers are aging parents, which leaves open the question of who provides care when the parents cannot and who provides care to the elderly parents of the wounded.

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Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, whose husband, former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, was wounded during World War II, said the study should be “a call to action” to help military caregivers." The study was funded by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

“The findings confirm this is an urgent societal crisis,” Dole said.

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[The Rand Corp.] [Los Angeles Times]

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